At the “Energy Markets Explained” session, Al-Naimi stressed that, as a company, Saudi Aramco believes oil demand will remain positive for the foreseeable future.
“Oil will be critical in the urbanization of non-OECD regions as a growing middle class demands more food, wearables, and transport. The urban population is expected to grow by around 2.5 billion by mid-century, with urbanized growth in Asia and Africa being especially intense.”
In addition, oil demand will also be driven by an increase in chemicals, noted Al-Naimi, with the demand for petrochemicals expected to double over the next 25 years. There is a broad consensus in the industry that crude oil as a feedstock will experience the fastest growth compared to other oil demand sectors.
Al-Naimi was joined in a panel discussion by Amrita Sen, chief oil analyst at Energy Aspects, and Eirik Wærness, senior vice president and chief economist at Norwegian energy multinational Equinor (formerly known as Statoil).
Saudi Aramco delivered a number of presentations discussing not only its latest upstream technology, but also the progress of major projects such as the development of the King Salman Energy Park and the company’s efforts toward marine management and biodiversity.
Eleven of Saudi Aramco's portfolio companies, through venture capital arm Saudi Aramco Energy Ventures (SAEV), supported the company's presence at the ONS. Several of these leading technology companies — Target Intervention, Sekal, Cannseal and Geomec — received Al-Naimi, who led a Saudi Aramco contingent that included Hans Middelthon, managing director of SAEV’s activities in Europe.
“The presence of senior Aramco management at ONS raises the profile of SAEV and our portfolio companies in the region, but also provides an opportunity for Saudi Aramco delegates to see first-hand the latest technology trends emancipating from the North Sea basin,” said Middelthon.
“Of particular focus at ONS this year was the digitization of the oil and gas industry, which included a dedicated SAEV workshop, with participation from European exploration and production players, and unique technology providers,” Middelthon added, highlighting the huge potential digitization offers Saudi Aramco.
Held every two years across four days, ONS remains one of the busiest and multifaceted events on the energy calendar, with visitors in excess of 68,000 and speakers numbering over 600 for 2018. Founded as a result of oil discoveries made in the North Sea, ONS has come to provide a key meeting place for surrounding companies and has, over time, facilitated the emergence of a major oil and gas hub.